When a student is referred for a Special Education Evaluation the process begins by identifying a clear referral question. This is crucial to the effectiveness of the evaluation and will assist in the TEAM being able to more accurately assess the areas of suspected disability. State and federal law require evaluation in the areas of suspected disability and the evaluations conducted by Hingham Public Schools are comprehensive and child-driven.
The Director of Student Services approves the components of all TEAM evaluations. Hingham Public Schools utilizes a variety of assessment methods to guarantee that the Special Education Eligibility Determination Team will have an understanding of the student’s suspected disability and its effect on the child’s ability to make effective progress in school. Evaluation may include both formal and informal assessments.
The intent of a TEAM approach in evaluation is to ensure that a comprehensive picture of student functioning within a school environment will emerge. No individual assessment or assessor may determine eligibility for special education and/or related services.
Hingham Public Schools ensures that assessment measures, not only those designed to provide a single general intelligence quotient, when administered to a student with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills, accurately reflect the student’s aptitude or achievement level or any other factors the test purports to measure. All assessment measures used have been found to evidence appropriate technical soundness, reliability, and validity.
Hingham Public Schools, when interpreting evaluation data and making decisions, uses information from a variety of sources to gather relevant functional and developmental information, including information provided by the parent. We ensure that information obtained from these sources and subsequently used to make eligibility and placement determinations conforms with placement in the least restrictive environment, and that information related to enabling the student to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum.
The following are some of the assessments that may be apart of the TEAM Evaluation of eligibility/re-eligibility for Special Education and/or Related Services.
Regular Education Assessment
Regular Education Assessment: At least one of the student’s regular education teachers in the area(s) where the student is experiencing difficulty will complete an evaluation of the student.
Educational History Assessment
The School Psychologist/Team Chairperson reviews the chronology of the student’s school experience in Hingham and elsewhere, may complete a Developmental History, an Educational History, or a Home Assessment.
A Speech/Language Pathologist administers an assessment focusing on language development, specifically, articulation, phonological disorders, specific language impairment and fluency. The pathologist may also determine current performance in four areas related to the regular education curriculum: listening, speaking, reading and writing. When a Speech/Language Assessment is recommended, the pathologist may have already been consulted during the school-based intervention process.
Occupational Therapy Assessment
A Licensed Occupational Therapist (OTR) administers an Occupational Therapy Assessment. Formal and informal testing procedures are used to assess the student’s performance in the regular education classroom. Performance components, which are assessed, include sensory processing, upper extremity coordination, and perceptual and visual motor skills. When an Occupational Therapy Assessment is recommended, the therapist may have already been consulted during the school-based intervention process.
Physical Therapy Assessment
The physical therapy assessment is administered by a Licensed Physical Therapist. This assessment includes classroom observation and independently administered testing procedures. These procedures may assess one or more of the following: range of motion, muscle strength, muscle tone, reflex integration, posture, endurance, gait, functional skills and gross motor skills. The evaluation determines if the student can safely navigate the school environment and participate in all elements of the school program. When a Physical Therapy Assessment is recommended, the therapist may have already been consulted during the school-based intervention process.
The School Nurse is responsible for following up on the Health Assessment. The School Nurse should determine if it is appropriate to receive a release so that a member of the TEAM may communicate directly with the physician or other health care provider.
The parent completes the developmental history with the assistance of the School Psychologist when the Special Education Evaluation TEAM feels it should be a part of the evaluation. The School Psychologist has forms for developmental history to assist in covering all the necessary information. Different Developmental History forms are fashioned specifically for Initial Assessments, Preschoolers, Elementary, or Middle and High School students. The School Psychologist may choose the form most appropriate, given the child’s age.
A psychological assessment is conducted by a certified School Psychologist or a licensed Educational Psychologist. The psychological evaluation may contain information gained from both formal and informal means and may include: parent interview, student interview, cognitive assessment, academic assessment, socio- emotional assessment, classroom recommendations, and diagnostic impressions.